A judge has told a drunk Napier driver who drove through a checkpoint without stopping that his breath alcohol reading was nothing short of 'death defying'.

Robert James Chittenden appeared before Judge Geoff Rea at the Napier District Court on Wednesday morning, charged with driving in a dangerous manner, failing to stop and drink driving.

His defence counsel Lisa Grant told Judge Rea that it was Chittenden's first offence and he was "stressed" but admitted he dealt with it badly.

"I've been a judge for a long time, but never have I seen something like this. A reading of 1366 is death defying - it's coming up to three and a half times the legal limit," said Judge Rea.

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"When you get yourself into this situation and drive dangerously through a checkpoint there are consequences – you were very, very drunk and you were a danger to yourself."

Chittenden was sentenced to 60 hours community work, nine months supervision and was disqualified from driving for nine months.